Outdated legal system of Pakistan and its impact on the nation

By – Malik M Abdul Basit Khatana

In this epoch, the profession of nobles (the “law”) is under threat. Where on the one hand the local graduates are knocking door to door to make ends meet, the international qualified legal practitioners are feeling hopeless at the same time. Both sides of the coin are the wheels of our country’s present and future but alas, the system has failed miserably.

In the past few weeks, the legal fraternity and pundits have encountered a question never posed since the inception of Pakistan. The international students and external law graduates, after a challenging movement, filed a writ against the Pakistan Bar Council and Higher Education Commission where they requested the court of law to revoke the recently introduced and instantly implemented LAW graduate assessment test (the “LAW-GAT”). Now the obvious question arises as to why was this action taken and on what grounds?

It is pivotal to note before analysing the above proposition, that in the century we are in, there is one side of God’s green land that is progressing thanks to new inventions such as AI (the “Artificial intelligence”), space drones, fast and updated laws and much more. On the contrary, our blessed land of ignorants chooses to hold on to the stone age beliefs “aj ka din nikalo, kal dekhi jaey gi.” In the humblest manner, I believe, the lack of education and the greedy game plan of a few elites have kept us from progressing.

“Verily! Allah will not change the good condition of a people as long as they do not change their state of goodness themselves…” (13:11)

Pakistan has produced the greatest minds with unmatchable intellect and capabilities. However, it’s sad to note that our existing legal system has produced uneducated and inexperienced lawyers, majority of whom are granted licenses without giving bar entrance examinations. For over a century, due to the bar politics of the few known and rest unknown hands, our country has failed to produce leaders, orators, activists and charismatic personalities. Resultantly, the domino effect has effected the rule of law in the country. Even till date, I can unequivocally voice that the majority of our lawyers do not know or understand the basics of Pakistan legal education including CPC, CrPC, Qanoon-e-Shahadat etcetera. This is because the mind set in our society has been that “a lawyer is someone who wears a black suit and is automatically entitled to respect and privileges after graduating.” Owing to such fairy-tales and misleading analogies, men in black do not bother to strive towards practicing enduring principles illuminating knowledge, wisdom, justice and grooming.

Our existing legal system has produced uneducated and inexperienced lawyers, majority of whom are granted licenses without giving bar entrance examinations

Owing to the above stated conundrums, a handful of fresh graduates challenged the orthodox system. Under the writ petition 15749-19, the aggrieved students (the “external law graduates”) submitted that it’s discriminatory to examine the students against Pakistan law modules that they do not study during their degree tenure and introduce such examinations without consultation from universities and students and even informing through any reasonable medium. In furtherance, it was also argued that the Bar council(s) did not provide any accurate curriculum and guidance prior to introducing the examination. In light of such imbroglios, where students are not granted bar licenses, there are thousands of students who are incapable of starting their careers in the field of law. As per the survey and interviews conducted by Waleed Waheed Ch. (Lahore) and Owais Ghani (Karachi), students from different walks of life are finding it difficult to secure a job. Most of the times, the employers are unwilling to hire a fresh graduate either due to not possessing a practising license or not applying through a strong reference from an elitist or a relative. In rare circumstances, if a student is hired, he is most likely to be not paid yet work like a dog striving for something he himself isn’t sure of. It’s heart wrenching to know that majority of the students come from a lower-middle class to achieve a milestone worth a dime. Their parents sacrifice their life earnings, emotions- stay apart from their children for years, solely with the intention that their children’s rights and future could be secured. However, the system has sadly shattered and demolished countless dreams and families, still gathering the unwelcoming mess gifted by our representatives.

In order to rub shoulders with powers of the west and east, in the globalized world of today, our nation needs to wake up and act. Act with a vision of accepting the mistakes of the past, opportunities of the present and a peaceful progressive future. The leaders of today possessing traits of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, Napoleon Bonaparte’ and similar legends are waiting for their nations to awake and look beyond the skies. The human beings are surviving and passing days with their hearts and mind filled with ‘hope.’ A hope that can change the direction of the winds, a hope that can predict the unpredictable, a hope that shall do what are forefathers could not. To at least curtail the anticipated challenges of the future, the people of Pakistan need act now before it’s too late.